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In times of crisis, our military steps up and it is our duty as military supporters to strengthen those who serve. During this unprecedented time of social distancing, quarantines and isolation, the USO’s mission of strengthening service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country is more critical than ever before.

As most of you already know, USO has temporarily suspended our center operations at airports and on military installations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our unstaffed Recruit Training Command (RTC) Rooms at NVASTA Great Lakes remain open to support those still working at RTC NAVSTA. The mission of the USO does not pause as we find new ways to support our service members and their families.

The USO Illinois programs and Pathfinder teams have been hard at work providing virtual programs, workshops and seminars for military and their family members impacted by the cancellation of school and day care resources and the suspension of USO Center Programs.

Our first web-based session was on Sunday, March 22nd. We welcomed Miss Jamie from Miss Jamie’s Farm as she streamed a high-energy, musical play and learn that our service members enjoyed from the comfort of their own homes. On March 26th, Tim Dabado, American voice actor who has appeared in thousands of projects, will be live streaming a story time. You will be amazed what one person can do with their voice. For all our programs please visit www.tixfortroops.org.

The USO Pathfinder team is actively engaged with transitioning service members and spouses, conducting intake interviews virtually via phone or Microsoft Teams teleconference. In addition, the Pathfinder team is utilizing online resources to continue to connect and engage our transitioning service members and their spouses to informational webinars. Visit www.usoofillinois.org to learn more about upcoming web-based events.

Although our centers are temporarily closed, our centers team continues to provide support to local commands with beverages, snacks, entertainment equipment and more. The Iowa and Illinois Army National Guard prepare for local deployments to help stop the spread of the virus. We are committed to making sure those service members are receiving necessary supplies to continue to help your neighbors, friends and families, through these uncertain times.

The USO has always been by the side of our military, from peaceful times to heightened conflicts. Yet today, we are all navigating new territory with COVID-19. Nevertheless, our teams are hard at work developing and rapidly deploying alternative methods to deliver our best in class support, all while ensuring the health and safety of everyone. Every day provides a new set of unique challenges and, with your support, we will persevere to find a way to be there for our armed forces.

If you would like to support USO Illinois please visit donate.usoofillinois.org.

Article Published March 23, 2020

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